Maranatha! - 1 Corinthians 16

Maranatha!

1 Corinthians 16:1-24

1 Corinthians 16:22 reads like this in the King James Version of the Bible: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema. Maranatha."  Most people don't understand what this means.  Compare that with the New King James Version: "If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed.  O Lord, come!" 

Anathema is a Greek word which means accursed.  Maranatha is not a Greek word.  It is Aramaic.  In the NKJV it is translated O Lord, come!  This is the only time that Maranatha is used in the New Testament.  Here the apostle Paul is looking forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

But there is another spelling, which is referred to as a marginal reference in the NKJV.  It is Maran atha, which means Our Lord has come.

Well, what is it?  Indeed, Christ came and dwelt among men.  Truly, the Lord has come.  But the word also had other meanings in the early church. 

It served as a reminder that Jesus is coming again.  Throughout the New Testament the second coming of Christ is a major theme and comforting expectation of the church.  Read 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18.  The Lord who came will come again.  This was the hope of the apostolic church, a blessed hope which we share today. 

Anathema and Maranatha stand side by side in our text.  The word Maranatha added an emphasis to the previous word, in this case Anathema, which speaks of the judgment of God.  When Jesus comes again, He will judge the world in righteousness.  Acts 17:31.  The early Christians knew this teaching, and recognized their God-given responsibility to persuade men to come to the Lord in repentance and faith. 

If we truly understand the meaning of Maranatha, it will serve as a watchword, impressing upon our hearts the urgency of spreading the glorious gospel of Christ while it is yet day.  It will not only inspire us to watch for His coming.  Maranatha will also move us to witness for the Lord.

O Lord, come! is an invitation for a speedy return.  The whole creation groans in anticipation of that Day.  In Revelation 22:12 we read, "And behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work."  Then in verse 20 Jesus says, "Surely I am coming quickly."  John adds, "Amen!  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"  Maranatha!

 

Lord, thank You for coming the first time, and dying in our place.  We weren't here then to welcome You, but we're here now.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus!  We look forward to Your appearing.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 
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